Mercedes v Red Bull war of words continues as F1 field heads to Hungary
- Mercedes and Red Bull F1 operations engage in verbal conflict
- Red Bull protest thrown out by Hungary GP stewards
- Verstappen and Hamilton duel set to continue this weekend
The war of words between the Mercedes and Red Bull F1 teams show no signs of relenting as the field heads to the Hungaroring this weekend for the 11th round of this year’s championship.
After their dramatic collision last time out at Silverstone, the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has continued to intensify. The Dutchman has accused the reigning seven times champion of being “disrespectful” for his post race celebrations at Silverstone, when Verstappen was in hospital for checks after his massive shunt on the first lap.
Hamilton meanwhile has fought back, saying that he wouldn’t change his approach to racing Verstappen going forward, leading to the tantalising prospect of the pair going wheel to wheel again in Hungary this weekend.
It has also been revealed that Hamilton had called Verstappen in the days after the British GP, to check on his rival’s condition following his accident.
In the build up to the Hungarian Grand Prix, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner added fuel to the fire with an explosive column on his team’s website.
Speaking of Hamilton’s post-race exploits, he said: “I am still disappointed about the level of celebrations enjoyed in the wake of the accident.
“The Mercedes team were aware of the gravity of the crash with Max widely reported as having been hospitalised and requiring further checks.
“It’s unimaginable not to inform your driver of the situation, moreover to protect your driver in case they do not show the necessary restraint in celebrating, particularly when it was as a result of an incident he was penalised for.”
Then, on Thursday, the Red Bull team lodged a protest into the ‘lenient’ penalty that Hamilton received after his misjudged overtaking attempt on Verstappen, which resulted in a 51G impact with the tyre barriers.
However, that protest was almost immediately thrown out by the stewards, after the team failed to show they had a “significant and relevant new element.” The team had put forward additional GPS data, simulations and a re-enactment of Hamilton’s lap one line at Silverstone, none of which was deemed to be significant enough to warrant re-investigation.
Once Red Bull’s protest had been dismissed by the stewards, Mercedes reacted with a dig of their own towards their rivals.
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team welcomes the decision of the Stewards to reject Red Bull Racing’s right of review.
“In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, including in the documents submitted for their unsuccessful right of review.
“We now look forward to going racing this weekend and to continuing our hard-fought competition for the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.”
With tensions clearly high, this weekend could well be another pivotal moment in this year’s championship battle. The circuit is renowned as being one of the most difficult to overtake on during the season, so the driver starting from pole has a big advantage.
Hamilton has won eight times at the Hungaroring, while Verstappen has yet to win. But with the stakes high and the pair highly likely to start on the front row together once more, and knowing that the opening lap will be ultra-important, the stage is set for yet more early drama this weekend.
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.